Tag Archives: young children

Kid’s Edition: Finger Foods for Thanksgiving

25 Nov

Whipping up recipes for Thanksgiving? Don’t forget to include young children in the process with a few fun finger foods they can help make. With a little creativity, simple snacks become a fun way for children to learn nutrition, math skills through measuring, and how to follow directions in the kitchen! Here are five of our favorite Thanksgiving snacks for kids to make:


1. Turkey Shaped Cheese Platter

Encourage children to work on sorting skills as they use a little creativity and a lot of cheese to create a turkey-shaped cheese platter! Find out how here.


2. Caramel Apple Nachos

Break out the apples and caramel for a tasty treat the whole family will enjoy! This is an easy (and healthy) snack that’s perfect for children who are eager to help out in the kitchen. Directions here.

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3. Owl S’mores

Make these adorable Owl S’mores with a couple of graham crackers, marshmallows, chocolate chips, yellow candy melts, and candy corn! They’re sure to be a family favorite! Find out how to make them here.


4. Fruity Turkey

Get creative with different fruits to create this adorable fruit turkey! Kids will work on fine motor skills as they cut different fruits in half and put on the final touches with shaped carrots!


5. Turkey Pretzel Snack

Break out the pretzels and peanut butter for some turkey fun! This is a cute idea to keep little hands busy as they create their cute turkey snack. Find instructions on how to get started here.

Build budding culinary skills in your children by investing in a starter kitchen set! Browse our selection here.


Don’t miss even more ways to get creative in the kitchen with Cooking Art! 

Top 10 Toys for the Holidays!

17 Nov


The holidays are fast approaching! Looking for sweet deals on gifts for your kids? Then you don’t want to miss our Top 10 Toys for the Holidays! Children learn through play and these toy selections are a great way to foster early learning. Don’t miss this year’s latest and greatest picks for hands-on learning:

145100a.jpg1. Adora Baby Time 16” Baby 

Have a new big sister in the family? The Adora BabyTime dolls are great for little parents in training! This adorable baby is decked out with a soft blankie, feeding bottle, and a pink newborn onesie!


2. PlayDoh Fun Factory – Classic 

Take Play-Doh play to a whole new level with the Play-Doh Fun Factory! Create fun shapes, crank out spaghetti noodles, or construct I-beams for building purposes! Don’t forget the included storage tray for holding all of the shape plates when not in use.


3. SpinAgain Stacking Toy

Teach colors, work on baby’s fine motor skills, and watch as a sense of wonder is instilled in children as they see the SpinAgain Stacking Toy wobble and spin! This colorful toy encourages hand-eye coordination and baby engineering skills.


4. Roominate Townhouse

Foster engineering skills in your young girl with the Roominate Townhouse! This award-winning line of wired building toys teaches STEM skills such as problem solving, spatial and fine motor skills, self-confidence, and creativity in girls! Get started building the perfect townhouse!


5. Light Stax Illuminated Blocks Set 

What’s better than brightly colored building blocks? Blocks that glow in the dark, of course! Use Light Stax as a custom night light with three different light modes: flashing, fading, or solid. Want to build a robot? Flower? Creations are only limited by creativity!


6. Mario Thwomp Ruins Building Set 

Does your child love Mario Kart? Bring the game to life with the Mario Thwomp Ruins Building Set! Build Mario & Yoshi figures, two Karts, Thwomp obstacles and let the battery-powered motorcar racing begin!


7. Sprinkles Recordable Build a Bear

Looking for the perfect companion for your infant or toddler? Sprinkles Recordable Bear offers the perfect way to record personalized messages to celebrate occasions, milestones, or simply leave silly messages for your child! Just hold down the heart-shaped button and record up to 10 seconds. Great for parents who travel and want to leave a sweet message young children can replay!


8. Crane Lift

Put building skills to the test with the Crane Lift! Practice construction site planning with this fun engineering set for budding builders. A great way to weigh toys already in the toy bin!


9. Kids First Physics Lab

Challenge your child with this beginner physics kit! Launch experiments with actions ranging from racing, rolling, flying, falling, crashing, balancing, and spinning around! Follow step-by-step instructions for completing each model and learn the basic laws of physical mechanics.


10. Snap Circuits Arcade

Not sure how to teach STEM to your children? Check out Snap Circuits Arcade! This building set teaches children about electronic circuits as they work with a base grid. Includes more than 200 projects and 30 components as well as an internal Microcontroller pre-programmed with interactive games!

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Family Time: Puzzles to Piece Together!

29 Sep

shutterstock_195729920Looking for an activity you can do as a family? Beat the bad weather and spend quality time indoors with your little one by piecing together a puzzle! Floor puzzles are perfect for promoting hand-eye coordination, fine motor development, and problem-solving skills. Time away from technology can also be the perfect way for your family to catch up in between busy schedules! Here are 10 of our favorite puzzles for the family:


1.     Animals Themed Peg Puzzle Set (Set of 2)

Build dexterity in your toddler as they learn about friendly and familiar animals! Pictures under each piece provide children with visual cues of where to place each piece, not to mention the artwork is adorable!


2.     Famous Artist Floor Jigsaw Puzzles 

Does your family love classic art? Reconstruct your favorites with the Famous Artist Floor Jigsaw Puzzles. Along with including works of Cassatt, Monet, and Van Gogh, the set includes an insert explaining the history of the artwork and a biography of the artist.


3.     Green Start Topsy Turvy Pattern Play Puzzle 

Teach patterns with these colorful puzzles! Made with wood, the colorful square-shaped pieces provide for tons of pattern combinations. Get as creative as you want piecing together a new pattern each time!


4.     Prehistoric Sunset 24 Piece Puzzle 

This dramatic dinosaur puzzle provides for an educational puzzling session as you appeal to your child’s inner dino lover. With bright colors and scenery, this puzzle is great for starting science conversations!


5.     Beginning Skills Floor Puzzle 

Work on your child’s beginner skills with this fun, colorful puzzle set! Teach the alphabet, numbers, colors and shapes as children piece together the different puzzles.

31422a6.     Animal Block Puzzles (Set of 2) 

Mix things up with block puzzles! These nine-piece puzzles allow children to build both vertically and horizontally as they re-create familiar animals. Each puzzles features six puzzles to complete.


7.     Alphabet and Numbers Puzzle Pairs 

Teach the alphabet and numbers at the same time as children piece together pictures to the alphabet and dots to numbers 1-10! Make the puzzle more challenging by following included instructions for challenging skill-building games.


8.     OBLO™ Spheres 3-D Puzzle 

Take puzzling to the next level with these award-winning 3-D spheres! To graduate from one layer to the next, children must find the correct position for each piece to build a sphere within a sphere! Is your little puzzler up to the challenge?


9.     Dinosaur A to Z Puzzle 

The 26-piece friendly Stegosaurus teaches letters with fun puzzle play! Once built, the stegosaurus can stand on its own for hours of fun and learning for your preschooler.


10. Shark Jigsaw 100 Piece Puzzle 

Do sharks fascinate your child? Dive into the deep seas by reconstructing this colorful, ocean scene! Talk about underwater ecosystems and food chains for an impromptu science lesson.

Didn’t find the puzzle you wanted? Browse through an even greater selection of puzzles for varying age groups here: https://www.kaplantoys.com/shop/puzzles

Fresh Fall Activities!

22 Sep


Fall starts today! Celebrate the change in seasons with these fun activities you can do with your children. (Don’t forget the usual fall favorites of pumpkin spice, leaf piles, and fashionable fall boots and scarves!)


1. Study Science by Tracking Seasonal Trees

In the spring and summer, trees have green leaves. When fall arrives, however, many leaves change color. Instead of green, you can see red, purple, orange, and yellow.

What You’ll Need:

  • Camera
  • Clear contact paper
  • Trees

What to Do:

  1. Select an area outside that has several trees, including both deciduous (trees with leaves that fall off in the winter) and coniferous (evergreen) trees, if possible.
  2. Visit the trees in early autumn. Pick a tree to “adopt” and observe. Encourage your child to explore everything they can about the tree, such as feeling the bark; examining the leaves or needles; looking for seeds, pinecones, nuts, and so on.
  3. Take a picture of your child next to their tree.
  4. As the deciduous trees begin to show signs of change, take another photo of your child next to their tree. How does the tree look different? Take photos as the trees with leaves change color and then lose their leaves. Have the evergreen trees changed?
  5. Continue checking on your tree throughout the year. Take photos in the spring when the trees are budding and when they have all of their leaves in summer.
  6. Cover the photos with clear contact paper.
  7. Spread the photos on a table. What changes do you see over time?

Books to Enjoy:

Activity adapted from The Budding Scientist.

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 2. Bake “Hello, Pumpkin!” Muffins

What better way to give your child a healthy dose of beta-carotene than with a delicious and nutritious pumpkin muffin? The sweet taste will keep him or her coming back for more, and the whole-wheat flour and pureed pumpkin will pack a powerful nutritional punch!


  • 1 ½ cups canned pumpkin
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2/3 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon cloves
  • chocolate chips (optional)
  • raisins

Note: Makes 1-2 dozen muffins, depending on size.

What to Do:

  1. Grease a muffin tin, or place muffin liners inside the muffin cups.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (adult only.)
  3. Invite your child to mix all of the dry ingredients together in a large bowl.
  4. Mix the wet ingredients together in a smaller bowl.
  5. Show your child how to make a well in the dry ingredients. Then help him or her pour the wet ingredients into the well of the dry ingredients.
  6. Mix gently until blended. If you want to add chocolate chips to the muffin mix, do so now.
  7. Fill the muffin cups about ¾ full. Give your child raisins to make faces on top of every muffin. Say, “Hello, Pumpkin!’ each time he or she creates a face, and be prepared for giggles!
  8. Bake for about 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean.

Activity adapted from The Budding Chef.


3. Create a Fall Leaves Art Suncatcher!

Finally, fall is a season full of beautiful colors that can sometimes come along with chilly weather. Celebrate the season from indoors with a colorful art project best appreciated by bright windows! The Fall Leaves Resist Art Suncatcher is a great tactile project for little hands. Find instructions for making this fun art project here: http://www.two-daloo.com/fall-leaves-resist-art-suncatcher/.

How will you be celebrating the season? Let us know by commenting below!

Developing a Growth Mindset in Kids

8 Sep


The new school year is sure to bring challenges and obstacles for your children. Developing a growth mindset early on is important to not only success in the classroom, but in any challenge they face for years to come. Here are five ways you can encourage your children to be prepared with an open mind:

1. Revel in the struggle.

Many times, when our children struggle, our first instinct is to have them switch to something easier or even complete the task for them. However, when struggle is seen as part of the growing process, children can be taught to view it as learning. Acknowledge your child is struggling by using statements like, “I know you’re struggling, but you’re learning how to do it.” It will make the accomplishment so much sweeter. Incorporate music learning with Tough Stuff: Songs of Motivation CD. 


2. Try new things.

Without trying new things, children’s horizons are limited as they are given fewer opportunities to grow. Encourage your children to step outside of their comfort zone, whether it’s attempting a feat on the playground they think they can’t do, trying new food at the dinner table, or meeting new people. The willingness to try new things will establish the early stages of a growth mindset. To challenge children at home, start browsing our puzzling and brainteaser section: https://www.kaplantoys.com/shop/puzzles.


3. Explore the concept of continual learning.

Intelligence isn’t fixed. This is an important concept for children to understand. Even mommies and daddies continue to learn every day! Be sure you’re open about continual learning and how it changes the brain and improves intelligence even as an adult. For a range of topics you can teach your children about every day, don’t miss the Learn Every Day series! 


4. Teach the importance of failure.

Even failures can be seen as a positive when seen through the lens of growth. When your child fails, encourage them to ask questions like, “What mistakes did I make?”, “How can I do better next time?”, and most importantly, “What did I learn from this?” This will instill resilience in children from an early age and an appreciation that success comes with hard work and perseverance. To learn more about how you can promote resilience in young children, check out Socially Strong, Emotionally Secure.

5.  Encourage positive self-talk when it comes to problem solving. 

Finally, encouraging your child to keep a positive perspective when faced with challenges is so important. Here are a couple phrases you can use to encourage and model positive self-talk:


Related Links:

Learning About Careers for Labor Day!

1 Sep


Labor Day weekend is quickly approaching! Do you have plans for your family? The three-day weekend can be a great time to teach your children about different careers in the community as well as get them thinking about potential career paths for themselves! Here is a fun project you can do together to celebrate the holiday with young children:

The Jobs People Do Project


  • Poster board
  • Markers
  • Graphics representing different jobs
  • Glue
  • Clothing proper representing different jobs
  • Various proper representing different jobs
  • Magazines
  • Construction paper

What To Do:

  1. Take a survey; ask parents in the community what they do for a living as well as discussing what you do for a living. Make a list of their jobs.
  2. Ask your children what they think each position does or includes and record their responses.
  3. Compare what your children say with what the jobs actually include. Talk a little about each type of job. One great way to do this is by using the Career Book Set. Make sure you don’t make children feel as if they answered incorrectly. Gentle correction is always best.
  4. Continue until you have talked about every job and then make a list of all of the jobs on a piece of poster board.
  5. Make a word/picture graph depicting community jobs. At the top of the graph print: “The Jobs People Do.” Under the heading make two columns, one for Moms and one for Dads. Print each parent’s job in the proper column. Add a small graphic that represents that job next to the printed words.
  6. Break out the dramatic play! Encourage kids to use props to pretend they are working at the different jobs discussed. If you’re in need of props, check out our career selection below:



  1. Cut out magazine pictures of people working to make a Jobs Collage as a family project.
  2. Work to create a unique and colorful jobs mural on poster board. Title it: “The Jobs People Do” and display it in your home for all to see. You can adapt this mural to do “Jobs I Want To Do” and have children include careers they are interested in.
  3. Wind up your celebration of the jobs people do by visiting a career place of your child’s choice. Libraries, fire stations, and sheriff’s offices are all usually open for the holiday, but it depends on individual hours. So, be sure to check beforehand!

Activity adapted from The GIANT Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities For Children 3 to 6.

For even more resources to get your children talking about what careers they are interested in, check out these career toys:

Outdoor Games the Whole Family Can Play!

30 Jun


Summer is the perfect season to get outside with the kids for fun family engagement! Active play is an important part of early childhood and becomes more engaging when parents are involved. We have a few games you can play with your kids that will leave you both learning and laughing together!

1. Four Square Madness

Have a driveway or empty pavement outside? Turn a hot, boring day into active play that will build fine motor skills in children by playing Four Square! Break out the chalk and playground balls for hours of fun as you teach children important lessons like boundaries, control, and patience while others players finish the game once a child is “out.” Find official Four Square rules here: http://www.squarefour.org/rules. Don’t have chalk? No worries! Find yours here; don’t forget to check out our selection playground balls below:

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2. Getting the Garden in Shape! 

Gardening is a great way to spend time together with your children as you teach them the importance of nutrition and sustainability. It can be hard to know how little ones can help when it comes to heavy gardening tools; that’s why we have just the thing! Find child-sized gardening tools below along with a tote they can carry to hold any yard tools you may need:

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3. Learning with Bean Bags!

Bean bags are always a fantastic way to get the whole family involved, however, with the addition of letters or numbers, they can also be used to bring classroom lessons outside. From spelling to counting, make up your own learning games with these easy-to-pack learning bean bags:


4. Building Sand Castles with Molds!

Whether you’re taking a vacation to the beach or simply have a sand box in the backyard, sand encourages sensory play and is a great way to encourage building in children. See how big of a city your child can build or encourage creativity with the creation of canals or nature decorations like leafs for flags. The possibilities are endless when it comes to a child’s creativity!


What are your child’s favorite ways to learn outside? Let us know by commenting below! Don’t forget to check out our Pinterest board: Outdoor Learning with Kids! 


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